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Ann Med. 2001 Nov;33(8):507-9.

Bacteriophages as therapeutic agents.


The emergence of antibiotic resistance among pathogenic bacteria is one of the most critical problems of modern medicine, and novel, effective approaches for treating infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria are urgently required. In this context, one intriguing approach is to use bacteriophages (viruses that kill bacteria) to eliminate specific bacterial pathogens. Bacteriophage therapy was widely used around the world in the 1930s and 1940s, and it is still used in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. However, phage therapy was all but abandoned in the West after antibiotics became widely available. Promising results from recent animal studies using phages to treat bacterial infections, together with the urgent need for novel and effective antimicrobials, should prompt additional rigorous studies to determine the value of this therapeutic approach.

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